Industry backs paid waiting times at Botany


Trucking industry backs introduction of paid waiting times at Port Botany, but NSW is being asked to go further

By Brad Gardner | April 30, 2010

The trucking industry has backed the introduction of penalty rates at Port Botany, but the NSW Government is being asked to go further

The general manager of wharf operator Johnston’s Transport, Mike Moylan, welcomed government intervention into the running the port to cut congestion and improve productivity.

Ports and Waterways Minister Paul McLeay yesterday announced that stevedores will this year be required to pay trucking operators for the time they spend queuing.

Although some drivers have been forced to queue for as much as five hours, trucking companies are currently not reimbursed for waiting times. They are penalised if they arrive late to collect freight.

"The industry applauds the NSW government’s initiative and looks forward to an efficient and productive future at Port Botany," Moylan says.

"This is a big win for the people of NSW delivering a significant reduction in costs and an increase in efficiency."

However, Moylan also wants the Government to look at the opening hours of empty container parks, weekend storage charges, two-way running and the booking system used for trucks.

Jill Lewis from the NSW branch of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) wants more information.

"Though ATA NSW was pleased with the announcement, the devil may be in details that we are yet to see," Lewis says.

"This announcement should see truck turnaround times greatly reduced, which is a huge benefit to drivers, the port and other road users."

Like Moylan, Lewis wants the Government to look at empty container parks and says there is more that can be done.

"We also still don’t have a marshalling area for trucks to park and wait for their allotted time slots. This not only affects local drivers, but has a substantial impact on our country carriers," she says.

Patrick, one of two stevedores which operates at the port, declined to comment when contacted by ATN.

A spokeswoman for the company says it is waiting for more details on how the scheme will be implemented before making any comment.

She says McLeay is scheduled to meet stakeholders next week.

From the end of September stevedores will need to pay a trucking operator $25 for every 15 minute delay, $100 if a slot is cancelled within two hours of the agreed access time or $50 if the slot is cancelled outside the two-hour timeframe.

Trucking operators will also feel the pinch, with McLeay ordering them to pay $50 for a late arrival and $100 if their trucks do not show up.

New technology will be introduced to monitor landside operations and Sydney Ports will increase existing wharfage by $10 per TEU container for all imports and exports.

The Transport Workers Union labelled the announcement a big step forward for fairness and safety in the industry.

TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon says the reform means drivers stuck in line for hours will not need to worry about making up lost time at the end of the trip.

It has also flagged a push to have a paid waiting scheme introduced nationwide and will canvass support in May.

"We often are told of drivers waiting for hours at a distribution centre to load or unload the goods, and they are not paid for their time," TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon says.


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